What now?

Several years ago, I left a job after over twelve years. I remember that first day after I resigned, I decided to take a week off and wait for my new job to begin. I was uncomfortable, bitter, and out of sorts – feeling as though I had lost something, but not knowing exactly what it was. I had a similar feeling yesterday at the end of the day. Friday was a short day, but it counted as a workday and an attendance day for the students. I was finished with all of my duties as a teacher, cleaned my room, filed my grades and I was on my way home. I was exhausted and spent. The previous weeks had been frenetic at work and I had put off things at home to finish things at school, and vice versa. I was mess.

When I pulled into the driveway, Beth was gone running errands, and Ivy greeted me. It was exactly what I needed; really, I mean it. I could unpack the car and then, lie down on the couch and take a nap, and I did. I started to read my book but I could barely make only a couple pages before I put it down and fell asleep. Ivy helped and napped along with me lying at my feet. I knew when I lay down I had a short window, perhaps a forty minutes or so, but no more. Before I knew it, Beth was home, then William, and then Olivia. But, the forty-minute nap was exactly what I needed.

Before long, the cold wet overcast morning was replaced by a cool dry sunny afternoon. William took off to go camping, Olivia played with a friend, Beth went plant shopping with a neighbor, and I ran an errand, which turned into a quest that will continue this morning. But, later the quest, and more about yesterday.

I had gone to the post office to mail a letter, real estate taxes, which had to be paid yesterday.  While there, I picked up the new stamp release – Mail a Smile, got a sheet for my mom, and headed home. By the time I got home, Olivia and Beth were talking about going to downtown Wheaton for the carnival or fair, or whatever, but it had rides and carnival stuff and I really did not want to go along. It turned out okay, they went with a neighbor and I took time to write my mom and a couple of other letters and notes while I sat on the deck and enjoyed the late spring evening.

Mail a Smile stamps – some of my favorite Disney movies!

It made me think of the time years ago, when I had left Vie de France and life, as I knew it changed.   I had started with Vie de France in Houston in 1983 while I was in college and stayed with them moving to the Bay Area, Dallas, and ultimately Chicago, when I left them in early 1996. In the final two years of my VdF career, I had become bitter and somewhat disenfranchised from the goals of the company. Looking back it is a whole lot easier to see why I was left behind. I stopped growing and refused to change while all around me change was happening, I just refused to see it or react to it. I had risen in the company from a small market to a larger market with more responsibility, respect, and prestige and I was running the number two restaurant in the chain. It ran well, made money, and was completely remodeled in the summer of ‘94. I was trusted and highly regarded enough to be asked to help open two new restaurants the year after the remodel in ‘95, I was even invited to be part of a team to visit France in fall of ’95 to learn ways to infuse French ambiance and ways of doing things into our restaurants. But, I was bitter and looking for something different and better, and then – one day, the phone rang.

If it were not for that phone call, I would still be there or somewhere similar. I had drifted for years with VdF. They were changing, but not in a way that was good. I knew it, but I had no power to change it, and my vision for change was not part of the equation. At the time in ’95-96 VdF was a small chain was small with 40 or so restaurants; today it is even smaller with only six café’s and only two remain from my time – one in California and the other in D.C. with the other four café’s clustered near company headquarters in D.C. I answered that call, interviewed and gave my notice. My leap was for all the wrong reasons, but it ended up being the leap that saved me. I jumped to Corner Bakery and though I lasted with them less than a year, it was what launched me to where I find myself today.

Nevertheless, last night as I sat on the deck sipping coffee and writing my mom and my brother, I thought back to that awkward time when I left VdF and less than a year later when I had left the Bakery. After VdF, I kept wondering what was next, I thought I had a vision, but it turned out wrong. After the Bakery, I ended up at Northern Illinois University and two and half years later in the classroom. I never have stopped changing and growing, though at times the change was difficult and painful. I know there is more change on the horizon. I have a plan for the summer, includes lots of change, a lot of growth, and even more. I always try to Make the Days Count, yet I really need to make the next 80 days count in ways I can only imagine and only dream about, today. Making the Days Count, one summer vacation day at a time.

Do you have a vision for your summer? for time away from work, or school? If so, what will you be doing?

Print Friendly

Thanks for visiting MtDC. How are YOU Making YOUR Days Count?